By James A. Washington
I have two words for you today; confidence and discipline. Both of which, when viewed spiritually, exude Godly principles. Put this on the Holy Spirit, but discipline is an amazing thing. When applied to faith, be it natural or supernatural, the result is spiritual confidence. Spiritual confidence and discipline, without ego or arrogance, gives you an attitude of awareness and knowledge and dare I say power? The example I’d like to use is of those saints in the Upper Room, when the Holy Spirit came upon them on the day of Pentecost and instilled everyone there with well, confidence and discipline. These people ultimately came to demonstrate a level of faith that was used via the power and grace of God to spread the Word of God all over the world. If you look at the before and after of this Pentecostal happening, you’ll begin to see my point. Prior to this, the faithful were huddled in secrecy, being faithful to the belief that what Jesus had told them, was indeed true. God would send another. That ‘Other” turned out to be the Holy Spirit, who imbued them with more of what they already had. Now their confidence in the truth of Jesus, coupled with their discipline to spread that word, manifested itself in their ability to communicate the gospel to the world. The world has not been the same since.
The question then becomes, in what is your confidence and discipline based? Where do you get the necessary power to have your gifts fortified? Does your faith give you the strength to acquire the discipline necessary to know what you should be doing in the Lord’s name and then do it? I believe the result is the power to know that you can do anything through Christ Jesus, provided you were called to do it. I also believe scripture illustrates to us that without spiritually based discipline, it is practically impossible to stand up to the trials and tribulations of life, but also impossible to withstand the temptations that seek to control our sometimes out of control behavior. The good news here is that wherever the Holy Spirit resides, change will occur, the right kind of change. Of those anointed in the Upper Room, many were faced with the opportunity to make their lives easier, if they would simply maintain the secrecy of their faith. Spiritually based faith and confidence gave each the power to boldly speak the truth. Remember Peter denied Christ three times without confidence. Some would call that cowardice. After Pentecost, he was buoyed by confidence and discipline. Power is the Word that comes to mind here.
You remember Paul at Ephesus? “When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.” Acts 19:6. Here, these twelve men were already baptized but knew nothing of the Holy Spirit. After, we are told, they began to preach the gospel. Can’t you see the power gained and their growing confidence? There is nothing restrictive about this kind of discipline. It is in fact quite liberating. They knew that they knew the same way we know that we know. It’s that change thing again. It’s called being set apart and not having to apologize or keep it a secret. I believe it lets us stand up as Christians in the face of criticism, adversity and temptation. We may still fall, but we will not fail because our infrastructure has been fortified. Let me be clear. I believe that discipline coupled with confidence invites the Holy Spirit to take up permanent residence in your soul. It’s what I’m looking for and what I’m praying for, for me and for you. And look out world when that happens. Like someone once said to me, I’m a different kind of soldier. Believe it or not, so are we.
May God bless and keep you always.